The Signs of the Times

February 12, 2010

In 2008, I took an 8-month-long screenwriting course from the Act One Program.  Every Saturday, I would drive up Beechwood Cyn toward the Act One offices at the base of the Hollywood Hills and look at the Hollywood sign on my way up.  It was inspiring.  Even now, years later, when I see it, I’m reminded of my dream, of screenplay structure (apple carts and mid-points), and of how many people have gone before me and how many will follow.  The Hollywood sign is an icon.  A symbol of hope.  But is it time to move on?

The land behind the Hollywood sign is for sale.  It was put on the market in 2008 for $22 million, just before the recession.  But now the Trust for Public Land [TPL] has secured an option to purchase the land for $12 million (according to a NY Times article).  Purchasing the land would ensure that the current owners’ plans for the land – developing palatial residential estates – would not go forward.

So, the TPL is planning on buying the land in order to give it to the City of Los Angeles so that it can become a part of Griffith Park.  In order to raise money for the purchase of the land, the TPL  is putting a huge banner over the sign that reads “Save the Peak” in order to raise the final $6 million that they need by April 14th (when their option expires).  I learned about the banner on the L.A. Metblogs.  Thanks guys!

It all reminds me of the thoughts I’ve been having lately about how our generation is so used to change (technologically and geographically) that we have become resistant to institutional change.  To wit, “what would Hollywood be without the Hollywood sign?”

The Hollywood sign is a prime symbol of entertainment in the 20th century, sure.  It’s iconic.  It would certainly be the end of an era, but the neighbourhood would still have it’s history.  Perhaps the industry in general would diversify just a little more.  But perhaps that’s a good thing…?

I tend to favour change.  I like catalytic events.  I like when things get shaken up.  So while I’d mourn the loss of an icon, I’d also rejoice in the need to move forward and create meaning elsewhere.

I suppose it could get exhausting living a perpetual apple cart existance, but it certainly wouldn’t be boring!